Post Natal Depression…
When Addison was born, I felt nothing.
Ok, thats not exactly true.
In the hours immediately following Addison’s birth, other than feeling 18 stitches being very slowly administered in to an area where, I truly believe to this very day, stitches should never be administered in to (EVER!!!!) I felt nothing but numb.
(Numb everywhere, of course, EXCEPT my vagina, which due to the magic of childbirth had obviously torn like a cheap royal mail envelope! …yes magical, thats how i’d describe childbirth, magical like, say, bieng mugged is magical.)
In the days following Addison’s arrival, the thick fog of misery that had wandered in to the birthing suite just after my placenta had been delivered, Had grabbed me by the throat, all the while smiling sweetly, and ripped out my soul, well… It showed no signs of letting go and giving me back what was mine.
I was secretly suffocating.
All the while wondering if he could be Jesus, him being born on Easter Sunday and all. (Im not even religious!!)
I would inspect every inch of him while he slept, (which wasn’t often) I would wrap my arms around him when he was awake, all blue eyes and cuteness (and with no signs of a beard growing) and I would wait… patiently, I would look down at him when he was all snuggly and ready for bed.. and…. wait to feel something.
While everybody else who came in to contact with him seemed to instantly fall in love, I instead seemed to be falling out of it.
I was waiting for the ‘overwhelming love’ I had heard so much about from other women, and read about in all the books, to sweep me off my feet and transform me in to the kind of mother I longed to be, but it never arrived, not fully.
I felt like I was wading through mud.
All. Of. The. Time.
I was desperate.
I was desperate to be The perfect mother, The normal mother even, who loved her child immediately and would simply die for them and couldn’t be happier if she tried.
I wanted to feel the connection, I was gutted that I didn’t, and I tried to remain focused and positive that it may soon arrive… every day as the months went by, I tried to be patient and positive.
But it didn’t happen.
I pretended I was all of those thing instead, that I was normal, as I was far too ashamed to admit I wasn’t.
Sure, I liked my son.
To be honest, I wasn’t really sure if I did or I didn’t.
What was wrong with me, why was I so selfish?
I put on one hell of a show at being over the moon, and being ecstatically happy in my new role as blobby mother, while the entire time feeling guilty and like a one hell of a big fat huge failure.
I was constantly berating myself for being such an awful, horrific, evil and selfish human being who couldn’t see the good in her child.
I was ungrateful.
I was ugly inside.
I was a miserable cow who deserved nothing.
I was bored.
I was broken.
But mostly I felt lost.
I had longed to be a mother, I had dreamed of this child from being a child myself, and so then how could I ever tell anyone what I was actually feeling?
No one would understand.
No one would be able to help.
I was dreadfully ashamed.
I didn’t deserve help.
‘How’s it going?’ The health visitors, my friends and family would enquire whenever they saw us together.
‘Brilliant,’ I would respond a big fat smile on my face ‘I just feel OVERWHELMED by the love, isn’t he adorable?’
And then I would retreat back in to my hole, exhausted and wrung out from the day and cry in secret.
I would think to myself ‘is this it? Is this my life now?’
And then I would feel even more ashamed that I could even think like that, when I was lucky enough to have a perfect and healthy and beautiful baby.
Especially when some people had real problems.
What the hell was wrong with me?
I just wanted to sleep, and sleep and eventually, I wanted to die.
This is my story of PostNatal Depression.
This is my account of what happened to me.
My aim, in telling my story so openly, is to offer a voice of help in a silent room.
If by writing this blog, I can help even one other mum, recognise this is an illness, and not a choice, then it is worth opening myself up.
I write to be honest, I write to be heard, I write to help others and myself, and I write to end the stigma.
If you would like to read my full story about birth to mental hospital to finding the light, you can download it to kindle by clicking the following link. It is also available across all other E- book platforms and in print.
I Used to be Cool.. by Lexy Ellis
You are not alone.
And 4 years on? That overwhelming love smacks me across the face every day.
I love being a mum, it has taken it’s time, but I think I always did love him overwhelmingly, the illness just stole away my ability to feel it.
My son is my saviour, my hero and my heart.
Depression is not a choice.
The Samaritans (08457 909090) offer a lifeline. You can email the Samaritans in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website has a search facility which you can use to find a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist in your area.
Mind offer information and support to anyone experiencing mental health problems.
The Depression Alliance produces a leaflet and runs a helpline (0845 120 6162) for anyone affected by depression.
Family Lives (0808 800 2222) is a helpline that provides support and information for parents who are under stress.
Cry-sis (08451 228 669)will put you in touch with a local supporter, for advice about excessively crying, sleepless and demanding babies and young children.
The Association for Postnatal Illness (020 7386 0868) can put you in touch with trained, experienced volunteers.
Home Start will visit you at home and offer friendship, support and practical help, as well as put you in touch with other parents in your area.
The National Childbirth Trust (0300 33 00 772) will put you in touch with a support group in your area.